The most annoying piece of information I came across this week was the news that the Togolese army killed 7 Muslim children who were coming back from Eid al-adha celebrations because they mistook them for Jihadists. According to them, they received an intelligence report that some “Jihadists” are in the country to commit atrocities.
I have spent hours analyzing the account of the military but cannot understand why they mistook these children for “terrorists or Jihadists as they say”. The possible reason could have been that they carried weapons which does not make any sense, the children were celebrating, not fighting. Another reason could have been that, by appearance, they looked like the “Jihadists” that they were looking for.
If that is it, we need to ask what these Jihadists look like so we may ask others not to look like them and not to get killed by mistake. In the military’s excuse, they did not provide the reason for their mistake other than that they received intel about some Jihadists. What exactly makes the children look like these Jihadists?
The attempt to phase out Jihad in our contemporary times is becoming more evident day by day. Muslims living in developed nations are sensitive to how they use words like Jihad, Mujahiddeen, and Mujaaheed while on the other hand, Christians can use words like Crusade and Crusader without any fear.
It should be noted that while Jihad has a contextual meaning which includes war, the real meaning of the word is to strive unlike crusade which expressly means a holy war while Crusaders were a Christian military that waged holy wars (Crusade).
Contemporarily, Crusade sounds so good to the ears as breast milk will gladden a baby while Jihad or Jihadist is synonymous to terrorism with no thanks to the media.
From what I gathered, Togo is a safe country for Muslims, but I really want to know how one can be mistaken for a “Jihadist” to be killed by mistake because I am afraid that with the way I, my friends, brothers and sisters in religion dress, I don’t want them to be killed by airstrikes by mistake!
Bashir Lucas Samson Lukman.